The Seahawks could've been a #5 seed following the Giants blowout win over the Packers. As you know, the Seahawks lost on the road because they still have no idea how to win on the road against an AFC opponent (0-11 since 2006 and 3-18 since the move to the NFC West).
This upcoming Bears game will probably determine Seattle's fate. A win and things look pretty good down the stretch. A loss? That's one foot out the door. Here's who to root for:
Atlanta Falcons (vs. New Orleans Saints, 5-6). The Falcons are inexplicably 10-1 and it feels like they're 6-5. If the Saints lose to Atlanta that drops them to 3-5 in conference record, while Seattle could at worst be 4-5. A Saints win + Seahawks loss = Seahawks out of the #6 seed. A Seahawks win + Saints loss = Sayonara, Bounty Hunters.
- Green Bay Packers (vs. Minnesota Vikings, 6-5). The Seahawks have an identical season record + conference record with the Vikings, but head-to-head trumps all and the Seahawks beat the Vikings 30-20. As long as the Vikings lose, it will help assure Seattle stays in the #6 spot. That said, if the Seahawks beat Chicago, root for the Vikings as the Seahawks would move up to the #5 seed and Green Bay would be OUT.
Denver Broncos (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6-5). Tampa Bay's loss to Atlanta was HUGE for Seattle, easily the biggest result we needed. It dropped their NFC record to just 3-5. They have an atrocious pass defense and are on the road against Peyton Manning and a quality defense. So it's worth stating as long as Denver beats Tampa Bay, the Bucs cannot gain any ground on the Seahawks even with a loss. A Seahawks win and a Bucs loss and realistically Tampa Bay is doomed.
- New York Giants (vs. Washington Redskins, 5-6). This is now the biggest threat to Seattle's playoff positioning. If the Redskins win they hold tiebreakers over the Vikings, Saints, Cowboys, and Seahawks and leapfrog to #6 seed. Currently Washington is 5-4 against NFC opposition, which gives them the nod over the Seahawks for the time being. A Redskins loss not only kills their division hopes but would dent that NFC record.
- Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys, 5-6). Seattle holds a tiebreaker over Dallas, but let's face it, the Eagles are terrible and will likely get stomped. And the Cowboys also are likely going to choke in December like normal.
- Indianapolis Colts (vs. Detroit Lions, 4-7). Not that the Lions have much of a chance considering they still need to play the Packers in Green Bay and Chicago again, but it'd be nice to kill them off for good.
- San Francisco 49ers (vs. St. Louis Rams, 4-6-1). Okay, believe it or not the Rams are now 1.5 games back. The Seahawks already lost to them and the Rams are 3-0-1 in the division, therefore eliminating any hope of the Seahawks winning a tiebreaker. If you accept that the division race is over, a Rams loss will probably finish Fisher's crew to our benefit.
- Losses by the Saints, Vikings, Redskins, and Buccaneers -- and all of them should be underdogs this weekend -- assure Seattle remains the #6 seed if they lose.
- A win for Seattle plus losses by the above teams gives Seattle significant breathing space, particularly since the Bills game is another AFC matchup.
- The Rams have a legitimate shot at the playoffs if the Seahawks lose and they upset the 49ers.
- Seattle really needs to win against Chicago.
Go Falcons, Packers (or Vikings if the Seahawks win), Broncos, and Giants! You can do it!